electroNic: "I always had the idea that I wanted to become an IGL someday"
Natus Vincere's in-game leader speaks out on his transition into his new roles and the possibility of replicating their BLAST-winning run in Cologne.
NAVI come into Cologne fresh off their run at the BLAST Premier Spring Final in Lisbon, where they managed to make it all the way to the top of the podium in their debut with Viktor "sdy" Orudzhev, who has been announced as being on trial with the Ukrainian-Russian squad.
While sdy was the player to take Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov's place, it was Denis "electroNic" Sharipov who became more of direct replacement for the captain, taking on the in-game leadership role for the first time in his career, and with that came several other changes in roles and positions.
To find out how he has managed to adapt to his new role, how NAVI made their new combination work so quickly in Lisbon, and whether they believe their form at BLAST is one they can replicate here in Cologne, we spoke with electroNic in an interview after Natus Vincere beat MOUZ in their opening match.
First of all, what was your initial reaction when you found out that the plan is for you to become the IGL?
First of all, it was sad to realize that the previous lineup, which went through a lot, fell apart at that moment. And the first days, I think, there were thoughts more about the fact that we lost the lineup that we had. And then, when I realized that I would need to be an IGL, I realized that I would need to do a lot of work to become a worthy contender at least.
Did you ever think you could become an IGL before this?
In general, I always had the idea that I wanted to become an IGL someday and try this, let's say, position or role in the game. I just didn't think it would happen so soon.
How much of a challenge has it been in reality to transition into the new role?
Well, first of all, IGL and calling in general depends primarily not on the captain, but on the players. And the way they would listen to the captain, whether he has authority, whether they want to follow him, even if it won't always be the most correct ideas. I think that the team is trying to help me as much as possible. So far, anyway, they have not fully gotten used to my style of play, style of calling, but I think we'll fix it as time goes on.
But Andrey (B1ad3) also helps me in calling, he tells me what things I need to say more so that the team feels better.
You've taken on a lot of the Boombl4 roles previously, opening up space a lot of the time on T side and changing a lot of positions. What about in terms of changing those roles, was it a challenge at all?
I don't think it was some kind of challenge for me. I am interested in learning new positions, and I’m not choosy for positions, for being an anchor or on rotation. If I am told to play a role, I will try to get the most out of this role. Whether I'm an anchor, lurker, entry fragger - it doesn't matter, even if it's a sniper role.
Would this role change always have happened, regardless of who came in as the fifth player? If you had had the chance to get someone more aggressive, perhaps, would you have kept more of your previous positions?
I think the more aggressive roles for T side would have remained anyway, because I need to control the whole team process, and I have to be in the center of the action. And it's hard to do that when you're on the other side of the map, you can't see what happens to the guys, and you cannot call. When you don't call, the team can't decide what to do and waits.
Things obviously went great in Lisbon when you debuted this new setup and with sdy, of course. Why do you think you made it work so quickly?
I don't know. It seems to me that everyone is just trying to be as useful as possible in the team and it's paying off.
Can you tell me your thoughts on sdy and how he has been fitting in? What are his strengths and weaknesses, and what do you think about him overall?
Well, I'll say that Vitya (sdy) is a good player who tries to analyze the game, he has a good aim. He needs to keep working, just like everyone else in the team should. And the more he works, the more he will draw from this experience and develop even faster.
There are a lot more teams here and pretty much all the big names. Do you think the run you had in Lisbon is replicable in Cologne?
As far as I remember, we did not set any goals at all for this tournament. It is clear that the goal is always to win. As a player, I always set a goal for myself to perform at the maximum, to show the best both individually and as a team. We'll see how far we'll go at this tournament.
Looking at how convincing you were in Lisbon, people see you as one of the big favorites for the tournament. Do you have that same confidence in yourself that this is the level that we can expect from NAVI more consistently?
To be honest, we have been coming to each tournament for probably two years as a favorite and everyone is expecting us to win. But I'll say that it is not so easy to do. For sure, there is no such confidence that we will come here and win this tournament, 100%. But we have confidence in our abilities. That is, we are confident, as a team and as individual players, that we can show a really cool result here, and we will do everything for this.
I mean, we didn't come here being certain that we're the main favorite. We just came with the certainty that we can fuck. Well, I don’t know how the boys view this, everyone has own opinion, but this is how I feel.